MSC Cruises has announced a new infrastructure development program for Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas, according to a press release.
A heads of agreement was signed on Monday in Bimini attended by the country’s Prime Minister The Honourable Philip Davis and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Honourable Chester Cooper along with other government officials.
The company said that enhancements will be made to the island with additional amenities for MSC Cruises’ guests who visit the destination, accommodation for staff as well as operational and technical improvements and environmental infrastructure.
Guest facilities will be enhanced with the introduction of excursion center to support watersport activities and island tours, a sea dive and snorkel center, additional food and beverage outlets and other facilities, the company said.
The MSC Foundation’s Marine Conservation Centre will be built as a base for biologists, coral reef experts and students. It will also house interactive pavilions, a lecture hall and coral exhibition tanks and provide MSC Cruises’ passengers visiting the island with educational opportunities about the importance of the marine ecosystem.
The island is home to the MSC Foundation’s Super Coral Program, which is considered a critical contribution in the contemporary understanding of coral reef resilience throughout the region.
MSC Foundation is supporting graduate student program designed to address and mitigate changes in thermal resilience of coral reefs throughout the tropical Western Atlantic. The coral nurseries at Ocean Cay are thriving with young and healthy, yet critically endangered species of endemic, reef building corals, representing hope in restoring these fragile ecosystems.
MSC said the development will also see a third solar farm installed as part MSC Cruises’ aim to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions for Ocean Cay, an advanced wastewater treatment plant, a landscaping plan to further diversify and develop the sustainable environment on the island with native and adaptive trees, grasses, and shrubs to provide erosion control, improve vegetation and support ecosystem health.
New accommodation buildings will see an increase in staff numbers from 150 to 280.
MSC Cruises today also pledged, as part of its ongoing social responsibility and commitment to invest in future generations of seafarers, that it will support the LJM Maritime Academy and the University of The Bahamas to enhance the training of Bahamians seeking to enter the maritime sector.